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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit turned over its area of responsibility in Iraq’s western Anbar province Feb. 7 and is on its way home to Okinawa.

The 2,200-member unit was relieved by the 1st Marine Division’s Regimental Combat Team 7. The 31st MEU had been in Anbar province since October and was tasked with executing various missions throughout a 33,000-square-mile area of operations, according to Maj. Gen. Richard A. Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

“I don’t believe anybody else could have done as good of a job,” Natonski said in a news release.

According to the release, the 31st MEU was responsible for a wide range of missions that included providing assistance and security for Iraq’s first free elections, Iraq border security, civil affairs missions, training Iraqi security forces and cordon-and-knock operations against the insurgency.

The MEU’s ground combat element also took part in the battle for Fallujah in November.

No date has been announced for the unit’s arrival on Okinawa.


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